The Strange Woman
1 My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding:
1. Solomon addresses his son on an issue that is obviously of grave concern to him: he is speaking about the strange woman—the harlot.
2. In fact, Solomon spends nearly three entire chapters (5-7) on this subject!
3. Why does he devote so much time to it?
a. Evidently, the sin of adultery was very much available in his day. There is a LOT in the Bible about this sin—as it is today.
b. Perhaps another reason for such an extended treatment of this subject is because of the devastating and long lasting consequences of this sin!
c. One man suggested that Solomon gives such a lengthy treatment of the subject is because it was a beam in his own eye.
• His own personal downfall began by taking on many wives. (I Kings 11:1-3)
• These may be lessons Solomon learned from experience. He doesn’t want his son to make the same mistakes he did.
4. Now Solomon tells his son to listen carefully to what he is about to say on this subject. Bow thine ear!
5. At this point, Solomon may be speaking to a grown, married man. (vs.15 – seems to imply that he was married.)
2 That thou mayest regard discretion, and that thy lips may keep knowledge.
1. Solomon wants his son to regard discretion…
a. Regard: watch; keep; observe; pay heed; retain
b. Discretion: purpose, discretion, device,
c. Solomon wants his son to guard this purpose or resolve in life: to remain pure…
2. That thy lips may keep knowledge… he wants his son to KNOW and to be aware of the dangers of the strange woman…
3. A father who loves his son will warn him about the harlot… her ways… her deception… and a father who loves his son will do all he can to see to it that he regards discretion and keeps this knowledge…
4. Ps.119:9, 11 – a young man will cleanse his way by taking heed to God’s Word… and hiding it in his heart—that he might not sin against God.
3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil…
1. Now Solomon begins to describe the strange woman. The first thing he says about her is that she is deceptive.
2. When he mentions her lips and mouth, it is not clear whether he is speaking of her kisses or her words.
3. But that is not the main point. The main point is that she comes across as sweet as honey and smoother than oil…
a. 2:16 – the strange woman flatters with her words…
b. 7:21 – the strange woman used her sweet words to entice this young man.
4. His warning seems to be this: be careful if someone comes across as TOO sweet… or TOO smooth.
a. Ps. 55:21 – smooth words on the lips CAN be a phony cover for something sinister in the heart.
b. This is a good warning in lots of areas other than the strange woman!
c. Be careful about the sweet talking salesman who is smoother than oil!
d. Be careful about anyone who “butters you up.” They often have ulterior motives.
e. The salesman’s motive is to get your money into his pocket…
• When a total stranger calls me on the phone and begins asking how I am… I can be pretty sure that he really doesn’t care.
• When someone is syrupy sweet to me, alarms go off immediately.
f. That is the case with the strange woman. She does have ulterior motives.
g. The strange woman wants to use the young and foolish man… she is not out for your good!
5. Of course we don’t want to go overboard and not trust anyone. But we do need to exert caution when the words are sweeter than honey… smoother than oil. That is often a tactic used to “get something” out of you…
6. This woman tries to lead the young man to believe that his life will be sweeter and richer…happier… more enjoyable and more pleasant by being with her.
a. Her flattery makes him feel good… important… someone cares about him… thinks highly of him… …(“she really cares about me!”)
b. For somebody that has been down in the dumps, that can be quite enticing…—that is exactly her plan.
c. Like the salesman who tries to convince a prospective customer that if he signs on the dotted line, his life will be immeasurably improved! That is not always the case once you sign!
d. Very often the snake oil and all purpose elixir doesn’t really cure arthritis and make your hair grow back! The words of the salesman were sweet and smooth—but were deceptive. They led you to believe something that was not true.
7. In a sense, this is the very nature of sin. It is sweet, smooth, and promises us the world… but does not come through…
a. Sin of all types makes promises of pleasure… and seems to come through at first. (Heb. 11:25)
b. Sin is pleasurable, but it doesn’t last. It is only for a season…
c. Like the high of a drug—it is pleasurable for a time, but soon you crash… and your body eventually pays the consequences…
d. The devil is a master at making evil look good…and so is Madison Avenue. And so is the strange woman. Don’t be fooled by any of them. It is all the same tactic.
4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword.
1. Now Solomon describes her END…
a. At first, she comes across as sweet as honey… but in the end, she is as bitter as wormwood.
b. At first she comes across as smooth as a fragrant oil anointing your skin… but in the end she is as sharp as a sword piercing and penetrating into your skin… ripping you open!
2. His point is the obvious contrast between her beginning (how she first introduces herself) and her end (the end results).
a. The beginning: sweet and smooth. The end: bitter and sharp!
b. The pleasure and sweetness that seemed to characterize this relationship at first will eventually develop into a bitter spirit.
c. The adulterer who seeks a few moments of pleasure may discover that the price was his marriage… his kids… his home… everything down the tubes… and a life of bitterness sets in.
d. I’m sure every one of us knows several families ruined by adultery. It is bitter.
e. The adulteress promises pleasure and happiness… but brings ruin and destruction and bitterness instead.
f. Adultery feels good initially… but in the end it hurts like the piercing of a sword.
g. These are not idle threats… these are not exaggerated warnings. This is the stuff of real life.
3. This contrast between the initial sweetness and bitterness in the end is true of virtually every enticement of sin.
a. Prov. 23:31– when you initially look at wine in the cup its color, smell, and ambiance are quite appealing… sweet and smooth…
b. Prov. 23:32 – however, in the end (at the last) it bites like a serpent!
c. Prov. 23:33 – alcohol leads to all kinds of other sins.
d. Prov. 23:34-35 – it makes you sick…
e. Prov. 23:19 – it produces woe, contentions, wounds…
f. I Tim. 6:9-10 – the same thing is true of the promise of riches. They allure through covetousness… and promise happiness… but in the end pierce men through with many sorrows… hurtful lusts… it can drown men in destruction and perdition!
g. Sin is always attractive in prospect—but hideous and hurtful in retrospect!
4. The sinner is deceived into thinking that nothing will happen to me. I will be able to get away with it. There will be no consequences to my action.
a. If the men and women living in cardboard boxes and sleeping in their own vomit in the back streets of Boston could have seen a video of their “END” before they took their first drink—they probably would never touch alcohol.
b. If the married man who ended up getting divorced, losing his wife, his kids, his home, his job… was told the outcome of his adulterous affair, he probably would never have gotten involved.
c. Why does it happen? Self-confidence—it won’t happen to me! I can handle this. I won’t fall! Pride!
d. I Cor. 10:12 – Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall!
5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
1. The way of this strange woman is the way of death… she is on the road to destruction that leads to condemnation.
2. There is a narrow way—which is too straight and narrow for her ways.
3. Then there is the broad way of destruction. That is her road… She is headed for death and hell… and she is enticing others to come along.
4. At first she seemed so sweet and smooth… but in the end—death!
5. There is a way which SEEMETH right unto a man, but the ends thereof are the ways of death.
6. The devil attempts to make evil look good—seem right.
7. Don’t be fooled. Those who practice sin are headed for death and hell.
6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
1. Finally, he describes her most effective tactic—speed.
2. Her ways are moveable…
a. She is slippery… she moves and changes to meet the various circumstances… lest you get away!
b. She works upon every weakness… snatches up every unguarded moment—LEST you ponder the path of life!
c. She knows she has but a short time to make the sale…
• Have you ever tried to say NO to a lively salesman?
• You don’t want new vinyl siding, well, could we interest you in some new windows? No windows, well how about a new roof!
• They are trying to make a sale before you hang up or walk away… and thus are moveable… slippery… changeable… if you don’t fall for the first sales pitch, they’ve got ten more!
3. The strange woman is moveable… LEST you begin to start thinking… pondering the path of life…
a. She does not want to give time for the conscience to begin to kick in…
b. She affords the young man no time to reflect upon what he is about to do…
c. She does not want the young man to have time to think about the possible consequences…
d. The idea here is similar to the unbelievable offer the salesman has for you on this new time sharing condo… but the offer is only good if you sign now… don’t stop and think about it—just sign now!
• They too can be quite “moveable”!
• If you don’t fall for their first pitch… they keep the pitches coming until one seems to sound too good to ignore!
e. In a similar fashion, the strange is moveable…changeable… she’ll say whatever you want her to say… promise whatever you want to hear… just ACT NOW! Don’t stop and think about how this will impact your life… just do it!
f. Ps. 119:59 – she’s afraid that he will think on his ways and turn away!
4. Solomon wants his son to KNOW this… to know her tactics… her motives… so that his son will FLEE youthful lusts… and not fall prey to this evil woman.